Cruising was once the preserve of the rich, it could be defined as an upper-class experience. However, with the abundance of cruise liners now in existence and improvements in technology, it is now a viable option for everyone. 

In fact, the number of people taking cruises is still increasing by an average of 7% per year. Figures suggest 28 million people took a cruise in 2018. 

How Technology Is Transforming The Cruising Experience

A cruise ship isn’t just a way to travel or see foreign lands, modern cruise ships are effectively floating resorts. In short, they offer everything you could need to enjoy a vacation without even noticing the ports the ships call at.

But, a modern ship that carries in excess of 3,000 passengers and displaces over 100,000 tons needs to have the very latest technology fitted to ensure the safety of the crew and passengers.

In fact, technology has been used on cruise ships for years, 

Advancements in Technology

You’re probably already familiar with a parental control app that allows you to see what your children are looking at on the internet. It’s a useful tool to ensure they stay safe.

But, what you may not realize is that this level of surveillance is being applied to you when on a cruise ship.  The idea is to monitor passengers to prevent crime and ensure you get the best possible experience. 

Camera and other devices are used to ascertain your preferred activities and cater offers to you. This is becoming commonplace on land as personal data is used to target you the most relevant offers. The same is now possible and being practiced onboard the biggest cruise liners.

For example, the Oasis of the Seas is owned by Royal Caribbean and has 1,100 IP cameras as well as 4,000 wired Voice Over Internet phones and an array of LCD IP screens which display any information the passengers need to know. 

In fact, these screens even provide directions when the passengers need them.

The Underlying Issue

This all sounds pretty straightforward. After all, you’ve already got a GPS at home and on your Smartphone. But, you need to remember that this is all being achieved on a ship which generally relies on satellites for the internet.

Alongside this, the provision of internet and associated technology is hampered by the fact that thousands of people may want to access information at the same time. The design of the ship can also confuse matters as fire doors are capable of blocking a wireless signal. 

Technology That Helps

Of course, you can access the internet on your own Smartphone or tablet. But, cruise ships are now providing iPhones. They are rented in pairs, allowing you to track your partner with ease! This isn’t as dubious as it sounds, a cruise ship is a big place, it’s easy to lose your partner!

You can also rent tags to attach to children that allow you to track them via the same app.

Other ships, such as those run by MSC Cruises have now gone a stage further than this, allowing you to use your own mobile to locate family members and find your way around.

Soon this type of system is likely to be linked with vessel tracking systems, such as vessel finder, allowing people not on the cruise with you to locate your vessel and your position.

Of course, you’ll need to allow permission for them to access your location.

How Vessel Finder Relates

Vessel Finder is a program dedicated to doing just what it says, locating the position of any vessel on the ocean. It uses terrestrial AIS receivers to monitor movements of in excess of 100,000 ships. This allows users to see exactly where they are.

The app can be loaded to virtually any Smartphone, ensuring you’re always aware of the ship's position.

In fact, this is a tool being used by cruise ship firms to track their own vessels and ensure they are progressing as they should be. It also ensures they are not about to come into contact with other vessels and can help to identify issues much earlier.

In short, apps like vessel finder are actually making cruising even safer. 

The Complete On-Board Experience

Contactless technology allows you to pay for things without insetting a card or adding a pin number. Cruise ships are taking this technology a natural stage further and creating the complete onboard experience. One medallion can be connected to all systems onboard, allowing room access, boarding, meals, register on safety drills, and even tell the chambermaids when your room is empty.

This technology allows you to order a drink from anywhere and a member of staff bring it to you, tracking your movement from the medallion.

In essence, this consists of the perfect experience as everything is simply a tap of an app away. However, there are still glitches that need to be sorted, such as the need to have 6 different apps to control all the different functions of your medallion.

The Future

Technology is entwined with the cruising industry. What is really interesting is the next logical step. With the ability to order anything you want from a Smartphone and for it to be brought straight to you even if you move, we’re now bordering on utopia.

In essence, robots can be programmed to collect and deliver any item to you, effectively meaning you never have to leave your poolside seat.  Passengers will be able to control their complete environment through one medallion. 

If that sounds far-fetched then take note, robots are already being used on ships as fast and efficient bartenders. Royal Caribbean calls it the bionic bar.

The benefit is a better vacation experience and, thanks to VesselFinder, a reduced chance of death if anything should go wrong on your cruise. A cruise ship no longer needs to feel disconnected from shore, in any sense of the word.

But, that means you lose the ability to get away from it all, and that’s not the only price.

The logical extension of cruise ship technology is a land-based variant. The need for conventional money would be abolished as would the need to physically do anything for yourself. You would literally be able to order anything and have it delivered, your every need would be met.

To many, this sounds like utopia. But add in the current advancements in AI and the future that science fiction movies predicted is much closer than you think.

Final Thoughts

Technology will certainly help you to enjoy your next cruise more, you can get everything you want with one medallion or bracelet, the people you’ve left behind can track your progress in real-time.

While you’re enjoying the first-class service consider the fact that technology is making your experience better, or is it?